Given Portugal's iconic Presidential train is currently running its harvest edition, I thought I'd share this post and video to showcase the unique event. I had the privilege of joining the first edition of The Presidential’s gourmet train experience for 2017 and what a wonderful experience it was. The visionary project is the brainchild of Gonçalo Castel-Branco, who took Portugal’s monumental presidential train out of a national museum and put its restored glory on the tracks again – complete with Michelin star dining, no less.
The train is a story in itself, having been built in 1890 to transport the court of the Portuguese royal family. It has since carried dignitaries such as Pope Paul VI, Queen Elizabeth II and Portugal’s heads of state.
Now guests can opt to enjoy the vintage carriages while enjoying a degustation menu prepared by top international chefs, paired with Portugal’s finest wines (and damn fine they are). As if that wasn’t enough, the train then careens along a rail line that twists through Portugal’s magnificent Douro Valley – a place I’d rate as one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.
This is one of those ‘impossible’ projects that pulled off, and I’m so glad it did.
The Presidential runs spring and autumn editions (1800s mechanics of heritage value make aircon a tad tricky, hence the old girl hangs in the museum during summer).
Visit www.thepresidentialtrain.com for more information and to book.
I made a short video of the trip (which starts and ends at Porto’s São Bento Train Station), which you can watch here.
The Portugal Wire is the blog of Australian travel writer, copywriter and photographer Emily McAuliffe.
Things you might not know about Portugal
A brief history of Portugal
Who was the first person to sail around the world? (Hint: he was Portuguese ... and then he wasn't)
A quick overview of Portugal's economy
25 April: a shared day in history for Australia and Portugal
Portugal's bridges: go big or go home
Portugal and Spain: same same but different?
Interesting facts about Porto
Traditional Portuguese food: what to eat and drink in Portugal
Who are they? Famous names on the streets of Portugal
Interesting facts about Lisbon
Uncovering Porto's secret gardens
Lonely Planet Instagram takeover: sharing some of my favourite hidden spots in Portugal
In the news... my feature in Portugal's national newspaper Diário de Notícias
On board the Presidential train in Portugal's Douro Valley
When the lion mauled the eagle (Porto)
Kicking design goals: Cristiano Ronaldo & Pestana's CR7 hotels
Lovely Lisbon: my top picks of where to eat, drink, visit and stay in Portugal's capital city
Porto street art: fighting the good fight
The best places to visit in Lisbon: 5 of my favourite neighbourhoods
Big waves in Nazaré: my favourite beach town in Portugal
Best things to do in Porto
Portuguese wine: yes, the wines of Portugal extend far beyond port
Portuguese architecture Part I: Manueline style
Portuguese architecture Part II: Pombaline style
When is the best time to visit Portugal?
Food to try in Porto: northern Portuguese cuisine explained
Filigree designs: the beauty behind traditional Portuguese jewellery